We all take pride in our work. Hope Academy – Project SEARCH, a business-led collaboration, helps young adults with special needs develop job skills through internships where they learn to gain and maintain employment.

Hope Academy – Project SEARCH is designed for young adults aged 18-29 whose main goal is paid
employment. Potential participants must complete a written application and an interview and should be eligible for support from Vocational Rehabilitation Services. For more information about this enriching program, or to request an application, email hopeacademy@hope-haven.org or call (904) 244-9872 today.

Family Profile: Meet J.R.

J.R. is a June 2014 graduate of Hope Academy – Project SEARCH. Based on J.R.’s skills and personality, Project SEARCH matched J.R. with Big Chief Tire in Jacksonville, Florida. Through Project SEARCH interns like J.R. learn employability and job skills in three, ten week internships at a host business.

Like all interns, J.R.’s manager provided regular feedback and closely coordinated with the Hope Academy – Project SEARCH instructor and job coaches, ensuring that he had a valuable learning experience. At the end of J.R.’s internship, he was offered his first job: a permanent position with Big Chief Tire. It’s been a life-altering experience for everyone.

Today J.R. approaches every workday at Big Chief Tire with a big smile and solid work ethic that has proved infectious. “J.R. is energetic and happy every day when he comes to work,” said Fritz Parman, third generation owner of this family company. “His presence has been good for the entire team.”

“When I first started working I was nervous,” J.R. said, “But now that I know my job and I know everyone, it’s like working with family. We have a lot of fun.”